Rear Admiral William Sowden Sims had been making a name for himself—and making waves—within the U.S. Navy for some time when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels (they were destined to become mortal foes) designated him the representative for the Navy Department in London and shipped him off in March 1917. For diplomatic reasons, Sims traveled incognito. It was a fateful time to head to England—in April the United States entered the world war that had been raging since 1914. The internationalist-minded Sims suddenly found himself in the catbird seat, and he approached his quickly expanding agenda with concern, forethought, and conviction. He would emerge from it all, famously, as a harsh critic of U.S. naval readiness and a lauded visionary of the future U.S. fleet. But that was all still to come as he first showed up in London without even a uniform. The British Admiralty steered him to . . . where else? Savile Row, old boy, and the preeminent tailors of Stovel & Mason, who kitted-out Sims in fine fashion.
Pieces of the Past